Evangelists Franklin Graham and Paula White have issued statements in response to their announced participation in the inauguration ceremony for President-elect Donald Trump and Mike Pence next month.
In a statement issued Wednesday, White, who is Chairwoman of the Trump Evangelical Advisory Board, said she is "deeply honored and grateful" to participate in the swearing in of Trump and Pence.
"In American history Inauguration Day is one of the most sacred and important celebrations we have as a people, not only because it signifies the peaceful transition of power but also because on this day 'We The People' appeal to the favor, blessing and guidance of God on our country, on our people and on our new leadership," she wrote.
The evangelist, who is also pastor of the New Destiny Christian Center in Florida, continued: "I will be humbled to stand shoulder to shoulder on stage with the new administration, other distinguished men and women of faith, and with the great sea of witnesses watching around the country and around the world who continue to pray for God to bless America. On that sacred day, we will ask God to guide our leaders with wisdom and strength and that He would richly bless our extraordinary home, the United States of America."
Prior to Trump's poll-defying win, White told The Christian Post: "Too many Christians have spent way too much time judging Mr. Trump and his relationship with Christ...I've had countless conversations with Donald Trump about the Bible. In fact, I met him because he watches Christian television and he was moved by one of my sermons: 'The Value of Vision.'"
Meanwhile, evangelist Franklin Graham, who will reportedly pray over the January 20th ceremony, said it is a "privilege" to take part in Trump's inauguration.
"I am very thankful that prayer and reading from God's Holy Word will be a part of this important ceremony as the world watches," he wrote. "We need God's blessing and favor on this nation and our new president, Donald J. Trump. I'm praying for that--will you?"
Other religious leaders participating in the ceremony include the Rev. Samuel Rodriguez of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, Bishop Wayne T. Jackson of Great Faith Ministries International and Rabbi Marvin Hier, dean and founder of the Simon Wiesenthal Center.
Tom Barrack, the Presidential Inaugural Committee chairman, said in a statement that our "leaders have paid tribute to the blessings of liberty that have been bestowed upon our country and its people" since the first inaugural ceremony.
"I am pleased to announce that a diverse set of faith leaders will offer readings and prayers," he said, adding that the leaders would "honor the vital role religious faith plays in our multicultural, vibrant nation."